What is it?
The Congregation at Prayer is a catechetical and devotional guide for use in the congregation and home. The idea for “The Congregation at Prayer,” as well as the assigned verse for the week, Catechism and Bible Story selections are mostly taken from Lutheran Catechesis: A Comprehensive Guide to Catechesis for a Lutheran Congregation, by Rev. Peter Bender (published by Concordia Catechetical Academy, 1999). The Congregation at Prayer teaches the congregation to us the Bible, Small Catechism, and hymnal for devotional use in the home. Our goal is that our church families would pray and read the Bible together daily, grow in their knowledge of the important narratives of God’s salvation history, and learn by heart the Small Catechism and important Bible passages.
The Congregation at Prayer is printed weekly in the Sunday morning bulletin and is sent out in a weekly email in a mobile friendly format which you can receive by signing up through the link at the bottom of this page.
How do I use it?
The Congregation at Prayer can stand alone as a devotion, can be used with a prayer service in the hymnal, or in conjuction with other family devotions or traditions. Please do not be intimidated by the material or feel burdened to use all of it. Use as much of the content as you are able, based on the time available and the ages of your children. Especially focus on reading the Bible Story and memorizing the Bible verse for the week and a portion of the Catechism. For little children, find the story in a children’s Bible or retell it using simple language. Discuss the theme and how all the readings fit together. For more experienced Christian adults I recommend using the Daily Lectionary. At the end, add your own personal prayers and reflections as you wish.
If you do not have a Bible, catechism, or hymnal, or if you want a recommendation for a children’s Bible call the church office and we can help you find them online or order them in print.
Children AND adults should memorize the verse for the week and the Catechism portion. The Catechism is split into sections to help aid your memory work. Begin with level one. Those who have memorized level one can work on level two, and so on.
Memory work can start with very young children. Do not wait until they are in school. Begin as soon as they can repeat after you. Don’t give up if the children show some resistence at first. Try to make memory work fun for the young. Offer praises and prizes for their effort! Help them to see that you consider memorizing the Scripture and Catechism an important part of being a Christian.
Memorizing Scripture is good for the brain and the heart! There are many studies that show how memory work is good for the developing brain and the adult brain as well.
Most importantly, memorizing Scripture will help you grow in faith, resist temptation, be comforted and comfort others, and confess your faith to others. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” A heart full of God’s Word has no room for the devil! The Word of God is a weapon against him (see Ephesians 6:11-18). Learning Scripture by heart is commanded by God of all Christians and will surely bring His blessing, as the Lord said in Deuteronomy 11:18-21: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul….You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise….that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them….”
I pray that this resource would be a blessing to you and your family!
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